Currents experiment

In this experiment, you will see how temperature affects water density and generates ocean convection current.

Ocean currents model

To see both currents at once, leave warm on the bottom for one and cold on the bottom for the other. With one hand keeping the bottles steady, use the other hand to take out the cardboard. Once the bottles are on top, pull out the card and you will see the water with the warm on the bottom quickly rise and mix into the cold water. Eventually, the cold water becomes warmer and it starts to rise. This process is called convection. This process is called convection. The warm water cools and it starts to sink. Have you heard of a convection current before? When warm, moist air rises and mixes with cold air, the atmosphere becomes unstable. Slowly pour the cold water or ice cubes into one end of the tank. Here are some excellent picture books on object densities and flotation. Observe what happens this time. If you use a bottle, simply place it into the water. The air directly above the lit match is always hotter than the air around the match. Carefully turn it upside down and place directly on the hot water bottle.

The warm air rises and allows cooler air or water to go underneath. It carries warm water from the tropics up the east coast north toward the cold arctic waters. Quickly turn both bottles together upside down. Observe what happens.

convection currents experiment

The colors are mixed up and eventually both bottles will have the same temperature and the same mixed color green. Observe how the blue quickly descends into the bottom of the tank while the red floats on top and the water churns.

Warm water rises because it has a lower density than the room temperature water in the tank. As the water moves, they mix and the temperatures change.

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How Are Ocean Currents Formed